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15 dead in California mudslides

15 dead in California mudslides

That set the stage for the massive slides that sent boulders crashing into homes, turned highways into raging rivers and shredded cars into almost unrecognisable tangles of metal.

Downtown Montecito was covered in thick mud and debris as officials scrambled to search for stranded survivors.

Just weeks after raging wildfires forced them to leave their homes, residents of the area to the east of Santa Barbara were being urged to leave after a deluge of mud, ash and boulders were unleashed by a ferocious storm.

The deluge helped trigger mudslides which quickly enveloped streets throughout the Montecito neighbourhood, as rescue workers scavenged the clogged streets and fallen trees to search for victims.

Travelers heading from L.A. will face major detours to the Santa Barbara area. Due to the unsafe conditions caused by the rain, it is proving hard for them to safely search for anyone trapped. Lowe, who also has a home in Montecito, wrote on Twitter he was "mourning the dead in our little town tonight".

At least 13 people were killed and dozens more were injured early Tuesday morning after a heavy rainstorm propelled mud and debris through Montecito in Santa Barbara County.

A county statement Wednesday says an additional 300 homes were damaged. He also spoke about the damage. Twenty-eight injuries have been reported. Tuesday morning brought rainfall accumulation of more than an inch per hour to the region, causing mudslides in areas scorched by wildfires in recent months. The fire destroyed more than 1,000 structures.

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Rescue operations are still underway in Southern California after torrential rain triggered mudslides Tuesday.

The county initially ordered 7,000 residents to evacuate and urged another 23,000 to do so voluntarily, but only 10 to 15 percent complied with mandatory orders, said Amber Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

After the Thomas Fire - the largest wildfire in California's recorded history - ravaged the landscape in December, the southern part of the state was hit by a massive storm.

She said in a video that one of her neighbor's homes was "devastated". The first confirmed death was Roy Rohter, a former real estate broker who was the founder of St. Augustine Academy in Ventura. Caltrans announced that Highway 101, which is still a muddy river, will remain closed until midday Monday.

"We are saddened to report that the death toll has now risen to 17", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters, saying it had been "another extremely challenging day".

Several thousand residents received evacuation orders earlier this week when the first winter storm of 2018 swept through the area.


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